Between the Pages: Victorian Women’s Letters to H. Lenox Hodge

This essay was first published at Fugitive Leaves, the blog of The History Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Cracking open the accordion-notebook of Dr. Hugh Lenox Hodge at The History Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, I read from the top, thumb and index finger poised delicately at… Read more →

Painting, a young women sits bonneted in a bed with heavy curtains pulled aside, and an older white woman holds out a newborn in a white dress to a white man in a puritan-era black hat and fancy velvet jacket.

A Brief History of “Bouncing Back”

So the world has witnessed yet another round of the Royal Baby bonanza — from tracking Meghan Markle’s maternity style, to conjecturing on her due date, to now discussing the baby’s name. But the most familiar set piece of this performance is, of course, the post-birth photo shoot. British tabloids loudly complained about the privacy… Read more →

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Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Sex, art, and misogyny. The first mom in space. A tale of two suffragists. What killed Prince Albert? A history of American beef. Was Shakespeare a woman? PTSD and the American Civil War. Escaping the corset in South Korea. The last queen of Greenwich… Read more →

The front of a postcard with an illustration of two stylized children in bonnets sitting in a field under a rainbow.

“Our Moral Obligation:” The Pastors That Counseled in Pre-Roe South Carolina

On December 8, 1971, a Presbyterian pastor in Greenville, SC counseled three women on their “problem pregnancies,” ultimately connecting them with clinical abortion providers. The first woman was a white, 21-year-old university student. Her relationship with her boyfriend had ended that October, and she believed abortion was, to use her words, a “last ditch contraception.”… Read more →

White license plate for Virginia, with M1DW1F spelled in blue letters.

From Hospital to Home: Wendy Kline’s Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

Wendy Kline has delivered a new addition to the history of childbirth in America. In her engaging and well-researched book, Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth, Kline presents a new and necessary chapter in the story of the medicalization of childbirth in the United States: the history of the home birth movement. Kline has a… Read more →

Colored pencil drawing of a couple kissing on a dirt path in front of a body of water, across which is the outline of a city

For Keeps: Teenage Girls and Anxiety around Sex during the 1990s

In 1995, I was sixteen and experiencing the excitement of my first real love. As if out of a 1990s teen rom-com, my boyfriend asked me to “go with him” by drawing a picture of roses and placing them in our shared locker. Once, when we were shamelessly making out in the band room between… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Siberians in Hawaii. The codpiece and the pox. Nobody uses dental dams. Brady Bunch and the measles. Gendering the history of crime. Looking back at WWII’s Lumberjills. It’s time to get rid of reform schools. 18th-century belief in extraterrestrials. Menstrual products as museum artifacts…. Read more →